Our great tradition of Bonfire Night is highly anticipated every year, with almost every field around the UK becoming a literal hotbed of fireworks displays, huge bonfires and toffee apples for local families who’ve smothered themselves in long forgotten knitwear that they’ve dug out the bottom of their wardrobes.
While this event is exciting and oh so British, it also comes with a lot of dangers- and we don’t just mean to the attendees. Large buildings and construction sites are often on the radar for criminals because the chances are that if they’re looking to do damage, these types of spaces are mostly unoccupied in the evenings and will easily conceal them if they are looking to break in to cause a fire or vandalise the area in other ways.
Fireworks and other types of fire-setting equipment are more readily available around bonfire night, with even local supermarkets stocking up on the stuff to market to locals wanting to have their own displays in their back garden meaning fire based arson and vandalism are very likely to increase around this time.
As a business owner, your property is your livelihood. Taking steps to protect it from criminal damage and other illegal activity such as theft should be at the top of your priority list before an incident occurs. Fires can do very expensive and frustrating damage, but there are steps you can take to try and limit the chances of you being targeted in the first place.
Arsonists and Vandals
Buildings in areas around these events can also become targets to vandals looking for spaces to have their own private displays. Building sites can become an attractive option due to their large open spaces, and presumably private security fencing around the perimeter that will shield them from view if they manage to get into the site.
Vandalism fires are often set by juveniles, and these types of fires are usually the result of peer pressure, for fun or as a kind of gang initiation. Kids will usually set these fires in a location that is familiar to them and may remain at the scene. In this situation, having CCTV is of vital importance so that in the worst case a fire does devastate your property, you are able to capture images of the incident and report it to your local police.
While good housekeeping doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be able to keep all vandals at bay, it may deter them from choosing your site as their most viable option.
Earlier & Darker Evenings
It’s common knowledge that all types of crime increase in the darker months- when the nights draw in, it leaves more hours open for burglaries, vandalism and arson to take place under cover of darkness. You should consider this when thinking of ways to protect your building.
Predominantly arson attacks occur when a building is unoccupied, and at night in particular. For this reason, fires can go undetected for a long period of time, and can do devastating damage. Checking fire alarms and other safety equipment is particularly important around this time, so that if a fire does occur you stand a good chance of being able to tackle it.
Bearing this in mind, if you are working at the property during the day, it might be worthwhile keeping an eye out for groups of youngsters snooping about in the daylight hours- they may be looking for somewhere to revisit once it gets dark!
Criminals are often put off attacking a building if they think that their task of gaining access is going to be difficult; a good level of lighting and security fencing wherever possible can prevent your building from being attacked in the first place.
If anyone does manage to gain access to the site or your building, you need to be sure that not only have you hidden away any expensive items, but also flammable ones.
One thing that you should consider is that any rubbish left lying around your site or building can easily become an ignition point or fuel for a fire. Using the phrase “one man’s waste is another man’s treasure” is highly appropriate here.
Wherever possible, remove the lure of any waste piles full of large objects, and ensure that smaller items are bagged tightly and stored out of sight. Things such as chemicals and piles of dry materials (eg wood and paper) should be locked away as they are great sources to start the ignition of or to maintain a fire if an arsonist is intent on setting one on your property. Any storage bins for rubbish should be kept stored away wherever possible too.